By Senators Orr, Erwin, and Butler
ENROLLED, An Act,
To require the Comptroller to establish and post on the Internet a database of state expenditures, including contracts and grants that are electronically searchable by the public; to provide for exceptions; and to require state entities to cooperate with the Comptroller with regards to the information to be posted on the Internet.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
Section 1. (a) In this act, "State Entity" shall mean, the State of Alabama, a political subdivision, an agency, board, commission, or department of the state, the State Board of Education, a public college or trade school, or a public university, except that the term shall not mean a county, a municipal corporation, a county board of education, a city board of education, or a professional licensure agency board that is self-sustaining by its own revenues and fees.
(b) The Comptroller shall establish and post on the Internet a database of state expenditures, including contracts and grants, that are electronically searchable by the public except as provided by subsection (d). The database shall include all of the following:
(1) The amount, date, payor, and payee of expenditures.
(2) A listing of state expenditures by each of the following:
a. The object of the expense with links to the warrant or check register level.
b. To the extent maintained by the state entity accounting systems in a reportable format, class, and item levels.
(c) To the extent possible, the Comptroller shall present information in the database established under this act in a manner that is searchable and intuitive to users. The Comptroller shall enhance and organize the presentation of the information through the use of graphical representations, such as pie charts, as the Comptroller considers appropriate. At a minimum, the database shall allow users to:
(1) Search state funding by any element of the information.
(2) Ascertain through a single search the total amount of state funding awarded to a person by a state entity.
(3) Download information yielded by a search of the database.
(d) The Comptroller may not allow public access under this section to a payee's address, except that the Comptroller may allow public access under this section to information identifying the county in which the payee is located. The Comptroller may not allow public access under this act to information that is identified by a state entity as excepted from required disclosure as confidential. The Comptroller or an officer or employee of the Comptroller's office shall be immune from any civil liability for posting confidential information under this section if the Comptroller, officer, or employee posted the information in reliance on a determination made by a state entity about the confidentiality of information relating to the expenditures of the agency.
(e) To the extent any information required to be in the database is already being collected or maintained by a state entity, the state entity shall provide that information to the Comptroller for inclusion in the database.
(f) The Comptroller may not charge a fee to the public to access the database.
(g) Except as provided by subsection (h), a state entity shall cooperate with and provide information to the Comptroller as necessary to implement and administer this section.
(h) This section does not require a state entity to record information or expend resources for the purpose of computer programming or other additional actions necessary to make information reportable under this section.
(i) The Alabama Department of Finance, after consultation with the Comptroller, shall prominently include a link to the database established under this section on the public home page of the State of Alabama.
(j) Each state entity that maintains a generally accessible Internet site or for which a generally accessible Internet site is maintained shall include a link on the entity's Internet site to the state expenditure database established by this section.
(k) The Comptroller shall establish procedures and adopt rules to implement and administer this section.
(l) Any vendor, contractor, or other supplier to any state entity may notify the Comptroller in writing that its prices and/or costs should be held confidential and upon receipt of such written notification the Comptroller shall not post the prices and/or costs specified in the notification unless and until the Comptroller shall investigate whether the prices and/or costs claimed in the notification to be confidential should be protected from posting. Such investigation shall include a hearing where the vendor, contractor, or other supplier can present justification for holding the information confidential. The Comptroller's ruling on confidentiality shall be based on a standard of reasonableness. The Comptroller's ruling shall be subject to review by the courts.
Section 2. This act shall become effective on October 1, 2010, following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.